I am a recently retired teacher of the blind and visually impaired, a career with students I loved intensely.
Fumbly Things to Do Around the Blind and Visually Impaired
I recently retired from teaching students who were either blind or visually impaired. I loved my time working with my students. Through my years of teaching, I observed many awkward things people with vision do when around people that are blind or visually impaired.
Here are ten pet peeves of the blind or visually impaired you should to avoid doing.
1. The Guessing Game
"Hey [insert name here]! Do you know who I am?" Oh, please don't do this. I've seen adults do this with students (a lot), and frankly, it's just rude. Don't put that person in a position to be embarrassed in case they don't remember. Yes, they will recognize familiar voices, and you may know they recognize you, but please, resist the temptation to prove it to others by quizzing them. Don't you think you'd feel a little stressed if you thought you'd be tested about people every time you went out? Be considerate and identify yourself!
2. Being Afraid of the "S" Word
Someone can be talking to a blind or partially sighted person and say something like, "Let's go see what's for lunch." Then they gasp and think, "Oh no, I shouldn't have said 'see!'" Lighten up. Everyone uses "see," "look," and "watch out"—including people who are blind or visually impaired.
3. They're Blind, Not Deaf
I'm blind, not deaf. HELLO, HOW ARE YOU?? Which goes along with one of my own pet peeves: "You teach blind kids? So you must know sign language?" Um, no. I know braille. I wish I had a dime for every time someone asked me that—including administrators during job interviews. Sometimes they "get it," but sometimes they don't. (That's okay; I've just deducted 5 IQ points from them!) And, for the record, I have taken sign language classes, but since I don't have any deaf-blind students, I have long forgotten it. I wonder if teachers of the hearing impaired get asked if they know braille?
4. They Can Hear Everything
This is the flip-side of #3: people assume the visually impaired have so much better hearing than the rest of us. No, but they do rely on it much more, so they are probably listening and paying attention better. They're not necessarily paying attention to the teacher, though. They also don't have visual "distractors" so to speak, so they can focus more on what they hear. Unless they don't want to hear it, of course. They are human, after all.
5. Not Believing Someone is Blind
"I don't really believe he's blind, even with that white cane. I'm not moving from this side of the hallway." That attitude will leave you sprawled out on the floor when the person barrels into you. Here's a good rule: Don't play chicken with a blind person. You will always lose. Instead, get out of the way, or at least make yourself known by saying something or making a noise.
6. Forgetting They Are Blind
This is a pet peeve that can easily be forgiven because it may demonstrate the fact that you know that person so well, that you have forgotten their impairment. Kudos to you! You will both have a laugh about it. These are the kinds of things that might happen when you do forget. Holding out your hand to shake theirs without touching their hand. If that person cannot see your hand, how is he/she supposed to know where your hand is? Answer: They will often extend their hand in anticipation, but if not, tell them you would like to shake their hand and then reach out and take their hand. Same thing goes for handing them something. You would be amazed how many times this happens. "Here's your homework," and then you hold it out in space. Or, even better, don't say anything at all and hold it out. Again, exactly how is he/she going to know where it is? Grope about for it? Sometimes groping is okay, like for finding a dropped item. But when handing things to the visually impaired, please touch their hand with it so they know where it is.
7. Low Expectations
- The pitying person, "Oh, you poor blind child. You must have a terrible life!"
- The know-it-all person, "Dr. so-and-so, can work miracles. I know because my grandmother/nephew/dog has 20-20 vision now."
- Mr. Helper, "Let me do that. I know it's too hard for you."
- The excuse-maker, "I don't want him/her to learn how to make a [insert food here] because they might cut/burn/make a mess." Or "You can't go on that field trip because there might be a terrorist attack, and I would worry."
- The denial/embarrassed person, "Don't use your cane at the store, so people won't know you're blind."
Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. Low expectations are probably the worst thing one person can do to another, regardless of abilities. If you aim for low performance—that's likely what you'll get.
Don't be an enabler. Being too over-protective will dramatically hinder their progress toward independence and living a happy, social, productive life. Step back. Allow them to fail, get a minor injury, and make their own mistakes. That's how we all learn. Don't forbid them these opportunities.
8. Feeling You
Would you like to feel my face? Whoa.
Do you ask sighted people if they'd like to feel your face? First of all, a blind person is not going to get a lot of information from feeling a face, other than maybe the shape of your nose. There are times when it is appropriate, such as when learning parts of the body. But if you are not immediate family, allowing a blind or partially sighted person to "feel" you is very inappropriate. And there are some who will attempt to do just that because they know many people aren't sure about that protocol.
Their hand needs to stay in a handshake and not move up your arm, and certainly nowhere else! If you wouldn't let a sighted person feel you, don't let a blind one. I've answered this question a lot from sighted people who have felt awkward allowing this to happen. Well, they feel awkward for a reason! It's not socially acceptable! Feeling your hair or the lack of it can be appropriate depending on the circumstances.
I've also had this question from a parent: How will my son know what a particular girl looks like? Answer: His friends will tell him!!! Oh yes, they will.
It's usually just ignorance, but don't assume that any blind or visually impaired person automatically needs help. Grabbing the person's arm and pulling them along is wrong on several levels. We know you're probably just trying to be nice, but don't.
First, always ask the person if they would like some assistance. Then, use the sighted guide technique correctly. Offer your arm and let them hold it, usually right above the elbow. Also, if there are several others with the person, speak directly to him/her, not through an "interpreter," as if the person is not there. Say his name so he knows you are talking to him.
10. Pure Meanness
Placing obstacles in the blind or visually impaired person's path, throwing things at them, rearranging furniture, moving or taking their belongings, calling them names, taking them to the wrong place and leaving them. Yes, it is mean - and it happens all too often. There will always be Sith among us, but educating ourselves and our children about disabilities may help reduce the bias, discrimination and ignorance.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 08, 2020:
You are welcome, Hannah! I’m very glad you found it helpful.
Hannah on January 07, 2020:
My brother became legally blind two years ago and I’ve had the privilege to be in a blind community. This article is really helpful to know the pet peeves of the people who are more visually inpared than my brother. Thank you Mrs. Sheila!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on September 19, 2018:
Ashley Young on September 18, 2018:
I became visually impaired when I was thirteen. I had cancer (Germinoma--germ cell tumor) in my brain and spinal cord that created a benign cyst on my left optic nerve. The cyst is inoperable, because it is inside a bundle of nerves.
I was very nervous about my sudden visual impairment for years. I worried what other people thought about me. How I looked when I wore my eyepatch to read/watch TV/use a computer, what people were thinking when they gawked at me, etc.
Then one day I decided I was going to have fun with it. I was tired of being embarrassed by it.
I went to a business meeting with the boss I had at the time. We had to walk 1/8 of a mile from the parking lot to the actual office building. It was a rain/sleet mixture falling outside and both my boss and I had our hands and arms full of materials for our meeting with the mayor. My boss opened the door with the tips of his fingers, then kicked it open for me, and I stuck my foot in it, then walked in with my 48 inch cane, 3 posterboards, satchel, pocketbook, and bookbag.
Despite the rain, I was wearing my sunglasses and the minute I stepped through the door, one of the secretaries saw me, gasped, and rang over to me. She said very loudly, "Don't worry! I've got you!" I looked at my boss and he turned and snickered. The mayor called us back for the meaning and the lady walked me down the hallway until it got too narrow for two people to walk beside one another. She stopped, held my arm a little firmer, and asked if I would be alright. I thanked her and told her I would be just fine.
We met with the mayor and as were walking back down the hall, that same secretary was standing there, waiting to take my arm. My boss was ahead of me and he said, "Hey, Ashley, you driving?" I said, "Yeah. Give me the keys."
The look on her face was priceless!
Miss Capri on May 21, 2017:
Ally T, that's cool. There is one character in my writing who is blind as well. She's not a main character in many stories, but she has a couple of features, and is a friend of a fairly prominent character. Here are a couple of things she's featured in.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 20, 2017:
I'm so glad you found it helpful! To write true to life, you can't stereotype, which is the problem with TV and movies. As a result, people like employers believe it, making it more difficult to convince them that the blind and visually impaired are employable. Thanks for your comment and good luck with your character!
Ally T on May 20, 2017:
Hi, I don't know if it's ok, but I have a blind character that I'm currently writing and this has helped me so much with understanding things I might never have thought of for their life. I just want to say thank you and your article was extremely helpful. :)
MissCapri on October 16, 2016:
Hi! Thanks. And I agree, CarlaAnne, you rock. Wow, as far as I know, the sighted people around here can even tell a bus from a car or truck just by sound. It actually amazes me there are people in the world with good hearing, who apparently can't. They could if they would just open their ears. I laughed right along with you Sheila, CarlaAne's sense of humour is great.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on October 16, 2016:
Hey there, MissCapri! Glad you are chiming in on this. I cringe when I read these things and feel the frustration since I have witnessed it countless times. CarlaAnne has the kind of positive attitude that will take her places. Crawling into a hole with self-pity - or believing the negative attitudes of others - is such a waste of potential. Those who haven't been around blind or visually impaired people have an innate fear but that doesn't seem to keep them from asking personal questions. Split the driving to New York - ha! Love it. I think showing that you have a sense of humor throws people off too, since they can't imagine you'd be anything but miserable all the time. You could have some great come-backs for these insulting questions, ha.
MissCapri on October 16, 2016:
I'm a Christian and I get fed up with the "I'll pray for you" comments too. haven't had them in a very long while, but I remember getting them back when I was younger and working at a hotel. Sometimes people would come in there and shower me with this pity. I shut them up by telling them that God is not a slave to them or to their church alone, doesn't always answer everybody's prayers when they want them answered, and that if I'm meant to get 2020 vision, god will grant me that in his own time and in his own way. if they still persist, I'll all out say it's obvious they have a problem with my blindness, so I have a problem with them, and they can kindly cut the pity.
CarlaAnne Ernst on October 15, 2016:
I just red the comment about being prayed for. This has already happened to me as well. While on the way to my eye doctor’s appointment, I went to my trusty bus stop on my corner, and then I changed buses where I usually do so, which I know happens to be near a big church. There were other women waiting for the bus as well, women sounding somewhat chronologically gifted. They apparently saw me tapping around with my white cane, positioning myself near the curb for the soon-to-arrive bus. And then came the barrage of questions out of the blue, yelling out to me: “You’re so brave! How do you know when the bus is here?” If I have learned one thing in this journey of vision loss, apart from how to successfully get on and off a bus without being run over the bus, is what a bus sounds like. And in Milwaukee, the buses make a lot of noise uniquely identifying them as a bus, particularly since once they come to a stop, the bus announces it's route number, beeps when the doors open, and lowers itself to the curb. And then I confirm with the driver the route number, and tell the driver where I want to get off. Although I usually request New York City and offer to split the driving, they don't seem to want to do that nor get off the route. However, the women couldn’t imagine I could identify a bus, arguing that buses sound like everything else on the street. I could see that I was not going to win this argument. But then, in great sympathy, they decided to pray for me hoping that I get my sight back. If that helps make them feel better, that’s OK with me. Thanks ladies. The bus came, and I helped them all get on. And off we went.
CarlaAnne Ernst on October 15, 2016:
Here are my thoughts about pet peeves. When I first lost my vision, it was much harder for everyone else to adjust than it was for me. The hardest part is people treating me differently. People assume I am less capable than I am. Strangers have even asked me what’s “wrong” with me. I just say let’s talk about what’s right with me. People who knew me before knew me as a person. People who meet me today, see only a blind woman. It’s amazing that after determining that I can’t see, people who don’t even know me will start a conversation without asking my name or introducing themselves. They tend to get hung up on all the wrong, personal and inappropriate questions such as, “Are you completely blind? What caused your vision loss? Have you been blind since birth? Will you ever see again? How do you use that ‘big stick’? How will you continue to live? How will you adjust and adapt? Can’t glasses fix it?” And my favorite, “Gee, you don’t look blind.” Really? This is insulting and frustrating. I now respond, “Well, you don’t look sighted.”
CarlaAnne Ernst on October 15, 2016:
So sorry I missed you this summer Ms. Cheese Grits! I would love to have seen you, but then again, I would like to see anything. Next time, bring some peaches and I will get you some cheese. Regarding my vision loss, I no longer see it as a loss, just a different type of life. When you’re faced with vision loss, you can either engulf yourself in self-pity and go into a life cocoon, or focus on finding ways to overcome this obstacle and develop different ways to continue to live and reach your goals. In my opinion, as soon as you acknowledge and accept this and work to move on with your life, the better off you are. I am inspired by author Richard Bach’s comment, “What a caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” At first I was very sad about my loss, but then I made a decision – after going through some very dark moments (excuse the pun) – to go on with my life. I now try to let go of old ways and accept new gifts and not accept limitations.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on October 15, 2016:
Dignity and respect. Yes! And to stop the undeserved stigma. I'm happy for you and your positive outlook on life. Sometimes the negativity is insurmountable and people who lose their sight, especially later in life, just give up. Your biggest advocate is you. Thank you for commenting! Oh, and Carla... I just passed through Wisconsin this summer and enjoyed all your state had to offer! I would love to send you some cheesegrits, ha!
CarlaAnne Ernst from Milwaukee on October 14, 2016:
Wow. Right on the money! I just lost my sight about five months ago, but already have all these same pet peeves! I now just ask that people don’t use the circumstances of my vision loss as justification for exclusion from work, life and the pursuit of happiness. I have more to offer people than my perceived disability. I ask sighted people to remember that there’s more than meets their eye if they take some time to look beyond my non-functioning eyes. I just ask for the dignity and respect one would give to anyone else – sighted or not. For me, I may have lost my sight, but I am slowly re-discovering my independence, zest and love for life. My goal now is to help other people, not with disabilities as perceived by others, but those of us with “different” abilities be treated with dignity and respect, like any other human being.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on July 27, 2016:
Rakeb, I am so sorry that I didn't see your comment until now. Hub Pages doesn't always send a notification. LIttle kids get a pass from me about these things because they really don't understand unless they've been around a visually impaired person or someone has taught them well. Too many adults just go by what they see on TV and movies, and it plays into their own fears. Going up to anyone you don't know and giving unsolicited advice is just rude beyond words, especially if you have no idea what you're talking about.
Rakeb on May 31, 2016:
Another one to add, is the mail or female in the street who finds it necessary to put their hand on your forhead, then begin praying for you. I have nothing against religion, it's just the fact that people think blindness is a thing that needs to be fixed that bothers me. I've also had little kids tell me to wear glasses, or to just open my eyes. And let's not forget the notorious "you should get eye surgery." It seriously surprises me that people don't realize that not all blind people are blind for the same reason.
MissCapri on January 20, 2016:
My facial expressions and posture apparently speak volumes, and I tend to mutter at people who do the guessing game thing with me. So I haven't gotten that treatment from anyone in a long time. Maybe they've started getting the hint. About the coworker thing, ugh. Ugh ugh ugh! I'd go for horrified at both what she did and later at his showing interest. Eww gross. She was a real nimrod to think it was okay to put somebody's hand on her chest in the first place. I mean, for a child just starting to grow up, it's one thing. Still awkward, very awkward when they want to show off. But an adult should know better. But his showing interest later on and getting rebuffed. Well. Ugh. *Doesn't understand her but scuttles away from him*
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 20, 2016:
Rusty, yes, I do think a lot of people do the "who am I" game as a form of showing off. It would take a lot of self-control to not come back with a sarcastic remark. Or better yet, go through a list of names, ha. But old relatives, right, they're not going to change. And that's so funny about your co-worker. I guess there could be some benefits when people don't know better - or maybe they do! hahaha It could also be horrifying. You're right - crazy stuff!
MissCapri on January 19, 2016:
Hehe Shiela! Yes. When I told Mom what I thought of doing, she laughed and said she would not have been able to keep quiet. Hahahahaha!
Rusty Perez on January 19, 2016:
All of these resonate with me, but I am particularly annoyed by the "guess who I am" game. Mostly it happens with people, I believe, who have issues with self esteem. It makes them feel really good when they can walk up and show others that they are remembered by the blind guy. There are some who create a special code or signal that they'd like me to remember, as if their voice isn't enough ... though some times a voice is not enough. :)
I often don't have the heart to say anything, particularly with old relatives. I'll just give them a hug and tell them, "hi, ..." If I really don't remember them, I'll say, no, it's been a long time." There are others for whom it would feel really rude to say something, but I know this is my generally passive nature speaking.
There are other folks who act surprised that I do remember their name, even though they come up to me week after week, in church, to comment on something completely "amazing" that I've done. I'll address them by name and after they spout some blather about being amazed that I remember their voice, i say, "I talk to you every week and your voice never changes." for some, I don't think it'll ever set in.
About the face touching ..... One time I had a co-worker who wanted to know if I was curious what she looked like, and she planted my hand on her chest. This was definitely a thrill seeker or self esteem issue because though over the next couple of years I showed interest, she rebuffed.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 19, 2016:
Haha, if you had poked her, she may have very well made a sound!
MissCapri on January 19, 2016:
Lol Sheila, Thanks for the welcome back. *Grin* Yup, got to admit, I have a somewhat wicked sense of humour at times. :) My mom does too, a little. Nothing makes her laugh harder than watching people running scared on TV, or even just the idea of it. Once when we were in church, the speaker was telling a story about some dog on a farm that was rogue and he kept menacing rather than guarding the sheep and other animals. When he was found out, the farmer decided to scare him of the behaviour ane day, and when it looked as if the dog was up to no good, the farmer sired a shot in the air. The dog took off, scared. I felt the pew shaking under me and knew full well what was happening. There was no sound, but Mom was killing herself laughing! I got a chuckle out of it too, and was very tempted to poke her in the arm, but decided not to be cruel. *Grin*
MissCapri on January 19, 2016:
I agree, Sheila and LilKit, it's a drag when there are communication barriers and people are too busy or lazy to do anything about them. They really don't know how it feels being left out in the cold as it were, due to something none of us asked for. There are times I don't even catch what was said in public either, because even though I hear well, there's so much other noise about that it's difficult to make out conversations. Or Sometimes I miss things that are visual in nature. My friends and family are great at explaining visuals to me that they find interesting or funny, though. My problems are mainly online with communities that are very heavy on images, sharing and talking about images. There are tons of places where chit-chat about icons, profile pics and other images dominate big time over any other conversations. IMO, that gets annoying.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 19, 2016:
That is very sad, Lilkit, and very painful as you said. I think the majority of the time people don't consider what they are doing as thoughtless. It doesn't occur to them that it's important because to them, it's a fleeting experience. So it really is up to you and I and everyone else who understands, to tell them how it makes you feel. Granted, that may not always help, but it's worth a try. ;) Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Lilkit on January 18, 2016:
It's very interesting reading your hub page through my former deaf school page. I am hard of hearing with a hearing aid on one ear and the other is deaf. One of the most painful things that we have encountered all our lives is being in a group of people talking and laughing at something funny and you ask a person what was said and they will either say they will tell you later which never happens or say " never mind". That makes us feel unimportant and not worthy to be included. That always hurt me too much so I have learned to just not ask or just tune out.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 18, 2016:
Thank you! And I'm sure the Deaf & Hard of Hearing group can easily come up with their own pet peeves as well!
Jenniww on January 18, 2016:
Been teaching VI for nearly 40 years. You are spot-on....and doesn't it do you good to get these things off your chest! Will share in UK
Tulin on January 18, 2016:
Fantastic article. Perhaps ironically it was recently shared on a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Facebook group, as it is an interesting subject matter and some members are also partially sighted. The article gives out some great information and I will be sharing it to my friends in the UK.
Alex deCourville on January 18, 2016:
I thought this was an astute article. I like what you said about avoiding the word "see" just because it can be easy for the phrase to slip into conversation and in my experiences, treating the differently abled that way doesn't help, it just emphasizes that they're different.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 18, 2016:
Yea, MissCapri! Yes, it has been a while, hasn't it? I was wondering if you would show up! Glad to hear you're doing well, even if a bit naughty, lol. That would scare me as well, I have to say.
I appreciate everyone's comments and add-ons!
MissCapri on January 18, 2016:
Wow, I didn't get notifies for such a long time, now they're coming again. So I'm back.
And for anyone who mightve seen my above comments, including the post of my link in response to this cool list where I go down and agree with or add stuff used to be on one site, and is now moved to
So, I get back here, only to find I've missed a ton of comments. So, just a note to let you know I'm still here, haven't left or forgotten about this hub.
Been lucky not to have any awkward moments relating to sighted VS. blind lately.
But if you want to freak out a sighted person, stand at the top of a staircase, sideways or especially backward with a heal just coming off the top step. I'm secure because I use my foot to feel where I am in relation to the stairs, but still freak my mom and my employer out when they see this, because it looks as if I could fall. And it's not done deliberately. It always happens just as I'm about to go down or am coming up, and pausing to talk with someone for a moment. But I can't help laughing every time it happens.
Kathryn Polston TVI/OM on January 17, 2016:
Molly C C on January 17, 2016:
Thank you for the awareness. I have Usher Syndrome ( tunnel vision that leads to blindness and hearing loss) and have two fabulous cochlear implants. Keep up the awareness.
Carol on January 17, 2016:
I have a very dear friend who was recently was an inpatient in a hospital for three weeks. Someone needs to provide all hospital staff a copy of your pet peeves with particular emphasis on speaking to the blind person and placing items back where you moved them from. Having had a heart attack, this individual did not need the unnecessary additional stress.
Shanna on January 17, 2016:
I would add two more to this list. Sighted people walking away from us and not letting us know in advance. I usually realize when this happens, but if there is a lot of ambient noise where we are, I don't catch that my sighted companion has gone somewhere else. It can make for some awkward moments. Also random strangers asking me very personal questions they would never ask people without a disability. I doubt this is specific to blindness, but nothing infuriates me more!
Jessica stewart on January 16, 2016:
I can relate to. All I'm legally blind visually impaired
ruth on January 16, 2016:
Bless you. You are spot on
Diane Thomas on January 16, 2016:
Love this post, I am visually impaired and am a Teacher of the Visually Impaired for many,many years. Thank you for sharing and THANK YOU for my next news letter!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 16, 2016:
Mowing the grass? Wow! Good for him!
Kathy on January 16, 2016:
Thank you so much for this,My husband lost his sight 5 years ago this may! He went to Tennessee Rehab to learn how to function as a blind person. He learned to type,read braille,he had mobility training! He has always loved cooking,and he learned the precausions he needed to use! he does most of our cooking,mows the grass,throws the football with the kids useing sound.he can do pretty much anything he sets his mind to,just a little differently than sighted people do! Most blind,or visually impaired people do not want to be treated differently,just with respect,thanks again!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 16, 2016:
Thank you for the comments and shares! Keeping a warped sense of humor about some of these things is probably the healthiest thing we can do. :)
Nena on January 16, 2016:
People are so strange. #3 reminds me of my own experiences as deaf/hard of hearing. When I inform a waiter/waitress that I'm hard of hearing, they hand me a menu in braille. My favorite coworker is blind and people shout at her to make sure she understands what they're saying. Good thing we both have a warped sense of humor.
Linda Crist from Central Virginia on January 16, 2016:
Someone posted this article on facebook today and I stumbled across it. As a legally blind (some vision) person, I am so happy to see someone writing about the issues I face daily. Society is so under educated about low vision and blindness. Thank you for writing a clear and concise article without a bunch of fluff. Voted up and sharing.
AC on January 15, 2016:
Love it. I will most deffently share. I have one to add. When people say that, Oh, I am just helping my blind (son or daughter or friend) like it is such a burden on them.
Fairy-of-the-moon on June 20, 2015:
It really is. I remember a similar incident on a bus going to a doctors apt one day and these 2 elderly ladies were refusing to move down 1 stupid seat to let me have one. I also have a seizure disorder and the motion of the bus if I'm standing, somehow triggers me. Anyway, I wasn't feeling well on this particular day so I wanted to sit. They didn't move, but instead sat there debating against themselves whether or not I can see, all because I knew where the step was to get on the bus. Arg! Of course I know where it is! I take it every day! Think, people, think!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on June 19, 2015:
The audacity is breathtaking sometimes, isn't it?
Fairy-of-the-moon on June 19, 2015:
Omg, I can't tell you all how many times I've been through most of these. Never had the I don't believe she's not blind one though, until a month ago. I was coming out of the mall and these 2 punk kids were passing me saying, pretending to be blind? That's not right. Yeah, man, 'cause everybody wants to bee like us. LOL!!! I showed my CNIB id card and said, I can prove my case, can you? Shuts people right up. How they treat me dictates how I respond. If they ask an educated question, I'm more than happy to give an educated answer. If you're gonna be an idiot, I'm gonna be an idiot back.
xavierunna stapleton on February 10, 2015:
That's so true, doing those thing really make me mad.
Brandon Hart from The Game on February 02, 2015:
#3 is soo true, I have seen it happen time and time again. The same thing for the other way around as well. I have heard a deaf person be asked where his walking stick was, but he couldn't hear it because he is deaf :P
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on February 02, 2015:
You are so very welcome. When most people hear the word "blind", they automatically think totally blind. When it comes to "legally blind", most don't know or understand the definition. Plus, legally blind is defined in terms of distance vision. They either equate "legally" with "totally", or they can't understand how someone could be totally blind in one eye and still not be legally blind if they can see better than 20/200 with best correction in the other eye. Of course in that case, they would be like you with the depth perception and peripheral vision. I'm sure sometimes you try to explain but sometimes it's just not worth the trouble. Just subtract some IQ points from them like I do, haha!
Torree on February 02, 2015:
I love this. My biggest pet peeve is "you're not legally blind because you can read this or that (ingredient lists, cell phone, textbook, etc.)." Yes I can read most things if I hold them literally to my nose, and I've compensated in that I don't have to see the whole word to know what the word is. The truth is, is that I don't have depth perception, 3D vision, or peripheral vision. Also at night I'm completely blind. I just can't stand when people have their own ideas of what it is to be blind or legally blind when they don't even have a clue. Thank you for this article.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 29, 2015:
That's great! As you become better acquainted with your new friend, you'll find that you often forget they are blind, and that's a good thing! Glad you found the article to be helpful. :)
William on January 28, 2015:
Thank you for writing this article. I recently became friends with someone who is blind. I felt a bit awkward in some situations..because I had never really interacted with anyone who couldn't see. Luckily this person has a great amount of patience and has also taught me a great deal about how to properly interact and work with the blind. Now I think I will be able to be better prepared and not be one of those annoying ..but well intentioned sighted people.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 23, 2015:
Thank you so very much. Your son sounds like a wonderful young man. I wish I could understand why people act that way. There is a great book called The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins which examines high school cliques and what happens to these students when they graduate. You might want to check it out. I'd say your son may have a brighter future than those who shun him now. Give him a fist bump for me. :)
Chrissy on January 22, 2015:
I have a 15 yr old blind son and have experienced all of these situations. He was born blind. He can see light and blurred shadows. Always been in a regular school and classroom. He carries around an apex, does his homework on it and then puts the sd card in computer to print out his homework, so the teachers know what he brailled. Always been a straight A student, still is. Loves Great America and has been on every roller coaster! The sad thing is that there are kids that won't talk to him , because they are afraid that their friends will make fun of them.. You did a perfect job on this article!! To the T!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 19, 2015:
Amazing. Did you bother to explain the difference, or just drop their IQ? HA!
Amanda on January 16, 2015:
Yes; teachers of the Deaf/HH get asked if they know Braille. I was absolutely floored the first time I heard that question. I would think more people are familiar with ASL so it probably doesn't happen as often as the transverse, but I do get asked it!
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on January 14, 2015:
Bahahaha! That's hilarious, Bekah! It's funny how people don't always think through what they are saying. Keep that sense of humor!
There was a comment here from Ron Davis and it has disappeared. Ron, if you're reading this, please comment again. And, of course you may share the article!
Bekah on January 14, 2015:
I used to teach deaf/hard of hearing students. No, we don't get asked if we know Braille, we do get asked if we know sign language. All the stinkin time. I had to resist the urge to say no I just scream at them all day long and see what happens.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on December 18, 2014:
Hopefully the people who are with you will say, Hey! Ask him - I don't know! hehe But yes, it's so rude. They just don't know any better because they've obviously never been around blind people.
Jared on December 18, 2014:
this is too true. I hate to be rude to people but i really have to bite my tongue when someone i'm talking to (mostly bank tellers, waiters and whatnot) talk to the person with me about me, as if i wasn't there! i'm kind of sensitive about it and i have walked out of some situations because of it. it's super embarrassing.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on October 01, 2014:
You didn't say if your case manager is a vision teacher. If she isn't, maybe she doesn't understand what you are capable of doing. What do your parents think?
Rakeb on September 30, 2014:
:) Yeah, probably is the only thing I can do. Maybe I'm being uptight, and blowing it out of proporsion. Pretty unlikely, though. This is actually my first time having an aid, I've never had or needed one. I just don't know why that would change now. I mean, sure, the school is a lot bigger, but can't I just look at a map and ask people like everyone else?
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on September 28, 2014:
Sorry things are not working out the way you want, Rakeb. Again, I can't really make a judgement call since I'm not there. Is your case manager a teacher of the visually impaired or is she a general special ed teacher? I do agree that having an aide around you all the time will definitely affect your social life. But the aide is gone now, right? You're in high school - you shouldn't need an aide now, based on what you've said. Another thing you can do is tell your parents and case manager that you would like them to set up a meeting to discuss your concerns, and make sure your O & M instructor is there and anyone else you can use for support.
Rakeb on September 28, 2014:
Next thing I know, when I start taking the city bus to school, she's probably going to stick her nose in that to. I just read the check list for concerns, and some of them made me want to break something. Making friends that can protect me was on the list. Arg!!!! to some people, they don't make a big deal out of this kind of thing, but I don't like it when my pride is hurt. And when you put friends to protect Rakeb in the lunch room on some stupid check list, that hurts my pride. Again, I have friends. I just don't particularly like you, and it's none of your business. Secondly, screw protection. I'm coming off as a stubbern little brat, but honestly, what are you protecting me from, the wall? O wait, you think I'm stupid enough to walk towards a food fight. Right, cause I'm just that pithetic. I'm not an idiot, I know what to do when a fist fight or a food fight goes down. One time in middle school, I actually passed 2 boys punching each other. I was literally inches away. In that particular situation, I think it's worse than what could happen now. See in middle school, we had 3 rows of lockers. One on each wall, and one smack in the middle of the hallway. So you can imagine how stuffy it was. But this year in a new school, the halls are a lot wider. AKA more escape room!!!
Rakeb on September 27, 2014:
I had 2 long conversations with my ONM instructor. She says it's fine I don't have to leave all my classes early, because it's not necessary to leave all of them early. Then she talks to my case manager, and she says some crap about how I absolutely have to, because hundreds of kids are moving through the hallway. Seriously, this has been going on for the past month. I'll try to make some kind of compromise and advocate for myself, but my case manager will pull some kind of reason out of her butt crack why it's not going to happen. I'm sick of it. They keep lecturing me about advocating for myself, and every time I want to scream at them and say, I am. But every time I do, it gets shut down. And, my case manager is getting on my back about making friends. First of all, I do have friends, I just don't find discussing my social life with a case manager I don't even like is appropriate. Second, keep your nose out my social life!!!! If you really cared, you wouldn't have some stupid ade stick around for 2 months. I don't know if you notice this, but people don't feel confertable approaching you when some stupid ade is following you around. UG!!!!! Can't do anything, because my CM is exstreamly persuasive, and everyone doesn't take in consideration about how I feel about all this. They just think I'm stubbern, antisocial, and I apparently need to except help more.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on September 17, 2014:
Yes, Rakeb. I think you may feel better if you have an honest talk with your O & M instructor. Your concerns are important but she won't know to help you unless you share them.
Rakeb on September 17, 2014:
It's sort of complicated. I didn't tell her the extent of it all, but so far she agrees with them. I don't think she would agree if I told her everything. I probably should.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on September 08, 2014:
Hi Rakeb! Good to hear from you and that things are going better for you. Since I obviously don't know your exact situation, I can only speculate about reasons why people are fussing over you. If you are walking in the hallways quickly while using a cane, they could be concerned that you could knock someone down. Or they could be overly cautious that you could get hurt and sue the school. Do you have an Orientation & Mobility instructor? If so, and you are following those safety instructions, the instructor could be the one to explain that you are capable of independent travel. Good luck!
Rakeb on September 08, 2014:
You know, I took into consideration about what you guys said about advocating for myself. Things have been a lot better now, since I can stand up for myself, and social situations don't stress me out as much. I still have annoying people to deal with, but hey, always good to look on the bright side. Sadley that person who is annoying is my case manager. She keeps going on and on about this safety crap, and I'm stuck with an aid for another week. Trust me, I argued. But these people don't budge. Has this ever happened to anyone where someone sees you walking quickly down the hall or up the stairs, and they go to your case manager and say, "so and so is running up and down the stairs." Arg!!!! That makes me crazy. First of all, I'm not running, it's called quickly walking, so I can make it to class. Second, why do you have to blow it over proporsion? Did I use that right? Bleh, whatever. Anyway, there's kids who strait up sprint down the hallway, like they are running the last few meters of a marathon. And they don't say a thing, or just say, slow down, and they don't go to the princepal or behavior people. Yo!!! People, I'm not made of sugar!!! If you think this, take your hand and smack yo self. :)
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on August 19, 2014:
I'm sure MissCapri and others here could give you ideas. I would suggest going to the National Federation of the Blind website, specifically here: https://nfb.org/state-and-local-organizations
You can search for a chapter close to you. I know they welcome everyone with an interest in blindness to join them. Let us know how it goes!
Chad on August 18, 2014:
Thank you for writing this! As a sighted person with an interest in sociology, what would be the best way to get involved with the blind community? Having never known a blind person, I am fairly uneducated on the matter but would like to learn.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on August 09, 2014:
Thank you for the comments, Rakeb and Miss Capri. I'm going to try really hard not to get on my soapbox (again). The most successful people, blind or not, have supportive families who understand that attaining independence is the goal in raising a child. It may be total independence or a lesser degree of it as appropriate, but keeping children healthy and safe is only part of the job of parenting. And I think that's where the conflict lies for some parents. Loving them enough to let go. It's tremendously hard to let a teenager drive a car alone for the first time because it scares us to our very foundation. All we can do is pray that they've been taught well and will make good choices. The same thing can be said for blind children. Let them cook! Let them ride a bicycle! Let them have a boy/girlfriend! It's scary, but it's also a selfless act. Withholding the pleasures of life from a child because of our fears (or worse, a desire to be a martyr) is nothing less than a form of child abuse. Sentencing a child to a lifetime on a couch, whether intentional or out of ignorance, is a - I want to say crime - but it's definitely a parenting fail. Unfortunately I don't think there are any agencies that would intervene on behalf of what they would call being over protective. Teachers can only do so much.
MissCapri on August 09, 2014:
No worries, your first attempt was good and descriptive. But seriously, I know, even some neighbours or relatives used to want to treat me like a delicate little glass doll that might break at any moment and it was maddening. Thank goodness my family wasn't like that, I was raised no different from the rest of my siblings. But sometimes people would see me playing at the park or jumping off diving boards in the pool etc. and ask my parents how they could just let me do that. argh? They were letting me be a healthy, active, normal kid. What was so wrong with that? And I've known some blind people, very few, who just sat and did nothing - even when their foster parents tried getting them to interact more. It's because of the horrible initial rejection they got from their biological parents, I think. :(
Rakeb on August 08, 2014:
Bleh I can't write. I ment, you guys hit the nail on the head.
Rakeb on August 08, 2014:
This article just about smacks all the nails with the hammer. :) I hope parents are reading this, because I've seen how parents treat there blind kids, and it's just not how you raise any kid. They baby them, and don't expect anything of them, and it beets them down. When you raise a kid like that, there going to believe there nothing. Just a helpless blind person who will never live independent life. It's even worse if you have siblings. I went to a training program for blind teenagers, and one of the kids had 3 other siblings. He was telling us how all of them had phones, even his younger sister, and how when he's at home, he just sits. I felt horrible, because when ever you asked him what he did for fun, he would say "nothing. I just sit at home." It's offal.
MissCapri on June 16, 2014:
Gah! That annoys me to no end as well.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on June 16, 2014:
Uh! I hate that. I also don't like adults answering questions that were directed toward a child. I know doctors have to deal with that all the time.
Poppie on June 16, 2014:
I was with my elderly father when he checked into a hospital for a routine procedure. He was not hearing impaired nor blnd, just old. As per protocol, he was in the wheelchair the hospital provided. The clerk kept asking ME questions that should have been directed toward him. When is his birthday? What are his favorite foods? What medications does he take? Each time I turned to him and asked the question that he answered for her. I finally said something like, " he is sitting right here. Why don't you ask him!" When she did speak to him she automatically raised her voice, even though she had not observed me doing it. It was a frustrating experience.
MissCapri on June 08, 2014:
Definitely. I get notes on sites saying "Your profile is 40% complete." or some such. Um excuse me, but I don't want to plaster a pic of myself or give my location, so that's as complete as it's ever going to get. For the longest time, I didn't even have a pic of myself on the computer.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on June 07, 2014:
That's a great point. Most sites are heavy into photos and graphics to draw people's attention. I don't know that there's any way around that. That has to be frustrating though on sites like this one where part of your rating is based on the visuals. It's one more thing people just don't consider.
MissCapri on June 06, 2014:
Something else I run up against, specifically on the internet, is how picture/image-oriented sites can be.
It often isn't compulsory to upload a profile photo, thank goodness. But it is implicitly very much encouraged.
And even here on Hub Pages, the help sections strongly encourage uploading photos - more than one if possible when making a hub.
That's a problem for one who doesn't like to put personal pics up just anywhere, and who can't create images for the purpose of dressing up a page.
And I don't want to upload someone else's because I might run into issues of people going "Hey, you stole my image!"
More to the point, I have a very scanty image collection on my computer because if I can't see them, there's not much point in having them unless they are personal pictures of experiences and things directly from my life that I'd like to share with a few friends.
Has anyone else ever had to just explain why they aren't interested in pics someone wants to show to them specifically? That's happened to me. People want to send me pictures, and I'm like "Er, um, sorry, but," then I have to explain. It's just a bit annoying when it happens out of the blue, particularly when we were already having a great conversation.
So, my hub is no doubt the plainest out there, but I wish sites would take into consideration that not all of us are image crazy.
MissCapri on May 19, 2014:
Heh. True. :) I don't mind "blind" "visually impaired" or "VI" as a reference to my sight condition, or, non-condition. But thought I ought to update anyway. *Grin*
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 19, 2014:
(Some people are way too sensitive...)
MissCapri on May 17, 2014:
Oh, I finally updated my own response article to include the edits you made in this one. No more "VI"s there now. :)
MissCapri on May 17, 2014:
Wow! Thanks again for the compliment, Sheila! *Grin*
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 17, 2014:
Perfectly expressed, Miss Capri.
MissCapri on May 17, 2014:
Lol Thanks for the compliment. I had to look back over what was said to make you laugh. *Grins* Turns out everything went just fine. What I can offer anyone still in school is the assurance, at least from my experience, that once you are done with school and the adolescent years, interactions with people are generally much better, much easier. The concerns shift from peer pressure and worries about being picked on to "Will I still have my job two years from now?" and there are times you will run into some adult who is downright disagreeable, but except for the odd annoying petty relatives that I think everybody has, (and those people are generally nasty to everyone equally anyway,) the horrible ordeal of being picked on does stop.
But - this is why I get quite annoyed with those sappy viral message forwards that idealize childhood as some kind of innocent bliss while droning on about what drudgery adult life is supposed to be.
That is just false.
Sure, childhood was full of innocent pleasant things, but so is adulthood, especially if you're like me and you'll grab every bit of happiness you can get. I would love an adult-sized playground, Get rid of all the gyms, the exercise programs, the yoga, the marathons etc. Just get me an adult-sized slide, swings, monkey bars, see-saw etc and turn me loose. Give me some cake and ice cream now and I'm just as happy about it as I was as a kid.
Nowadays, little kids treat me with a lot of respect, I am well liked on the job. that's a big switch from being a kid among a big herd of peers, everyone all trying to be less of a loser than the next kid, or that's how it felt in school from elementary to the end of junior high. Even Senior high was better with that. The main problem I had with my peers there was their crummy attitude toward substitute teachers or teachers who had something different about them, for example, a foreign accent.
No, my life isn't carefree now either, because I've got other concerns. But I'm happy with who I am, and anyone who doesn't like me can go jump in the lake for all I care. No one could pay me enough to be a kid again.
My family and true friends were great growing up. But yes, when you're a kid, it's terribly taxing having to be in the same space with a lot of other kids around your age, many of which are only acquaintances, a few are friends, and a few are bullies.
It really does get better on that front when you're through school.
MissCapri on May 16, 2014:
Yes, kids can be horrible. And if you fight back hard enough, at least some of them do back off. In some cases I got physical. But the teachers also knew I wasn't a trouble-maker, so if I was provoked, they knew it was what the other student only had coming.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 16, 2014:
Miss Capri, you continue to crack me up. Keep that attitude!
Jennifer, hahahaha! The Crosswalk Showdown is a classic. Bless their hearts, they just don't know any better.
Rakeb, oh I hate to hear that you are having such a tough time with your peers. Middle school can be awful - for a lot of students! Bullying should not be tolerated in your school. If you never talked to your administration about it, I wish you would - even if it is at the end of the school year. They need to know. You could be helping someone next year by bringing it to their attention. Now, about next year in high school... As a teacher of the visually impaired, I take this list at the beginning of every school year and send it to every faculty and staff member at the school. Then I give more detailed information to teachers directly involved with my students. Another thing I do with my students the first week of school is go into each of their classrooms and talk to the class for about 15 minutes, explaining about their blindness, materials and technology they will be using, and answering questions. This helps everyone become more comfortable. And I also talk about this list then! Oftentimes people are mean because they don't understand something or someone who is different. This is something your TVI should be doing for you! He/she should also be looking out for you in regards to bullying as well, but Rakeb, you do have to let them know what you are experiencing in case they are not aware. High school may be better - or not. You may have to become very assertive and advocate for yourself. No, it's not fair, and kids can be terrible. I hope you will keep in touch here and let me know how you are doing.
Rakeb on May 16, 2014:
So right. The calling names, labling, name game, and whispering when I walk down the hallway happens to me every day. Exactly why I can't wat till high-school. No little kids who are lucky to be little kids, and are lucky to be in school, because if they weren't I would lose my temper and get in a fight. It doesn't happen as much when I'm upstairs in classes with the other 8th graders. It's just the little stuff. Like screaming and cursing your head off when ever I walk past you, or just tap your foot with my cain. Or being called the blind kid. I hate that. My mother didn't name me blind kid, so don't identify me as that. I wish I could make a poast out of this article, and poast it all over the walls. But there isn't really a point because I'm gradguating middle-school in 2 weeks, the princepal doesn't let us do stuff like that.
Jennifer Olsen on May 09, 2014:
I have worked as Paraeducator assisting with braille instruction, assistive technology and O&M for over ten years now. You listed just about every pet peeve and frustration that I have witnessed with my students but I would like to add one more. I call it "The Crosswalk Showdown". You would not believe how many people stop their cars when they see a blind person with a cane standing at a corner waiting to cross, and then wave them on with an arm gesture! The student is waiting for the car to go and the driver is waiting for the student to cross the street. Umm... thanks for the wave, we know you are trying to be considerate but... Really?? Thank you for sharing this. I am going to pass it along it to my coworkers, maybe I should read it to them in sign language...Lol!
MissCapri on May 08, 2014:
Wow, this place is getting active again, and that's nice. Yep, still here. But thankfully haven't had any experiences lately where people annoyed me over the blindness issue. I am going out for lunch today, so you never know. But usually people are really good about it now and if they goof up I don't hesitate to issue corrections, and how nice I am depends on how they behave. :)
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 07, 2014:
Glad you all like the article. :) Thank you for commenting!
MaureenHayden on May 07, 2014:
I had a great time reading this article. As a young adult going through my Undergrad I experience these things at my University all of the time. It is really a matter of educating those around you. I would rather have someone assume I have no eyesight and offer assistance than to assume I am fine and can be on my own because I do not need to use my seeing-eye-cane on a daily basis. I have met plenty of people in my interviews for internships, jobs, and soon graduate school who just don't get it and I love the 5IQ points idea!
anonymous on May 07, 2014:
ASL Interpreter here...number 3....yes number 3. Get asked all the time if I know braille.
During college I worked at a residential school in the blind high school girls dorm, while majoring in interpreting, that really messed with people's minds. Fun job!! Still think about those girls and wonder how they're doing. I was super "mean" and had them do as much on their own as possible, and got to witness great strides in independance during my time there. But at the same time ripped into the health office employee that was being unreasonable and unkind to one of the kids. ;)
Julie on May 06, 2014:
My daughter and I had a great time laughing at these! She loved it.
Sheila McCleary (author) from Alaska on May 06, 2014:
Thank you for your nice comment. :)
lisa42 from Sacramento on May 06, 2014:
I laughed at this line:
... but that's okay because I've just deducted 5 IQ points from them. :)
What a great way to handle idiots! Thanks for writing such a great hub.